Email is ubiquitous, it’s heavily relied on by businesses for internal communication, external communication, and marketing. There are expected to be 4 billion email users worldwide by the end of 2020 and that number is projected to climb to 4.3 billion by 2023. Adopting the right email practices can improve connectivity between teams, collaboration, and productivity while helping to foster positive work relationships.
Because remote work has increased 40% in the US over the last 5 years and email communication shows no signs of a decline, strong and respectful email practices are essential for teams to maintain good communication habits.
Here are 3 Rules Essential to Email Etiquette
Arguably, response times are the most crucial element of email communication and it’s even more important when employees are distanced from their teams. On average 50% of people respond to work emails within just 2 hours of receiving them, but the most common response time is as little as 2 minutes. 70% of people expect a response from their co-workers within 4 hours of sending an email, while approximately 30% of people limit their expectations for a response to just 1 hour.
Depending on the urgency of an email, it’s important to meet the expectations of your coworkers, and deliver on what you expect for yourself. So, emails should generally be responded to on the same day they’re received even if the response is as simple as “I’ll get back to you shortly.” When co-workers are asking a question, at the bare minimum they want to be acknowledged even if you’re not yet equipped with the answer. Only under extenuating circumstances should your co-worker wait over 2 days to hear back from you. A lack of response can hurt their productivity, deteriorate your working relationship, and their trust in you.
CC & BCC
CC means “carbon copy” and BCC means “blind carbon copy”. Each have specific situations that warrant their use. Outside of these specified conditions, it’s protocol to send email correspondence directly “To” a contact.
Sometimes referred to as a “courtesy copy,” CC’s are used to just inform recipients of information or correspondence that doesn’t necessarily require their response. Contacts who are CC’d on an email are always visible to everyone else included in the email. It’s important to distinguish when a contact would actually want to be cc’d on an email. Overuse of the feature can overwhelm your coworkers’ inboxes. It’s often more effective and considerate to simply reach out to someone you would CC on an email directly with the information they need, an explanation, and an attachment of the email being referenced.
BCC, like CC, is used to send copies of emails to multiple recipients for their information. However, a BCC differs because the recipients are not visible to one another. A BCC can be used to protect the privacy of recipients in a group or mass email message to customer or vendors, so that their email address and other contact information isn’t available to strangers. Otherwise it’s commonly used internally to share email correspondence with HR or management when there is employee conflict.
It’s beneficial to preconfigure signatures for correspondence with different contact groups to personalize communication. Depending on the size of your organization you can have an internal signature as well as an external signature. Your name, title or position, and phone extension should be included. As well as potential sign offs such as “best” or “regards,” however this can be tailored to each context of email rather than automated creating a sense of personalization.